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Comparative Arts Japanese Civilization – Chapters 9 and 20 October 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "Comparative Arts Japanese Civilization – Chapters 9 and 20 October 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 Comparative Arts Japanese Civilization – Chapters 9 and 20 October 2010

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3 Japan

4 Four main islands of Japan: Kyushu, Shikoku, Honshu, Hokkaido

5 Early Japan Carbon dating shocked historians and archaeologists when they discovered the world’s first pottery was created in Japan - 10,000 BCE, long before any other culture There is an assumption that Japan always followed China in their development, but this is clearly not always the case There are generally a few basic types of societies: – Hunting-gathering – Agricultural – urban What type of society was early Japan that allowed them to create pottery 12,000 years ago?

6 Early Japan Carbon dating shocked historians and archaeologists when they discovered the world’s first pottery was created in Japan - 10,000 BCE, long before any other culture There is an assumption that Japan always followed China in their development, but this is clearly not always the case There are generally a few basic types of societies: – Hunting-gathering – Agricultural – urban What type of society was early Japan that allowed them to create pottery 12,000 years ago? – They were also at the hunting-gathering phase, but didn’t move around much because of sufficient supplies of fish, seafood, and plants found year round in certain places – In other words, they did not have to follow herds of animals

7 Jomon Era -The vessels used ropes of clay for strength and decoration -the era became known as Jomon, meaning ‘cord patterned’ -demonstrates prehistoric people had a dramatic artistic imagination -there are no written records from this period so all we know about early Japan comes from pottery – indicates a society that was bold and confident in its way of life -How does this limit what we know about early society in Japan? Storage Vessel, Earthenware, Japan (2,000 BCE, 2 feet tall)

8 -in around 300 CE, a new wave of people came from the Korean Peninsula -they brought a different culture and advanced agriculture (rice) to the Jomon people -rice cultivation meant that larger settlements were possible, leading to Japan’s first emperors -the Jomon people exist today in small numbers on the island of Hokkaido and are now called Ainu

9 The Ainu are racially distinct from Japanese and are considered ‘Caucasian’, although there has been much inter-marriage over time.

10 Chinese and Korean influence in 6 th century New waves of influence from Korea and China that became vital parts of Japanese culture – A writing system – Buddhism (which China had imported from India) – Advances in medicine – More complex government systems – New forms of poetry, music, architecture – Brush painting and calligraphy Japanese enthusiastically adopted Buddhism: copied sacred texts (good way to practice their new language), built temples, and ordained Buddhist monks (first of whom were three women)

11 Shinto: an indigenous Japanese religion A kind of nature worship Developed into a state religion of patriotic appreciation of Japanese land Shinto involved aspects of nature worship and ancestor worship, which could be carried out at home or in Shinto temples Why did Shinto develop formally – why was it adopted by the government? – Partly to react against Chinese influence –Shinto was seen as purely Japanese

12 Horyu-ji – the oldest wooden temple in the world, Japan, 670 CE This temple reveals how Buddhist-inspired Chinese architecture influenced early Japanese temple building. However, its asymmetrical relationship of structures is typically Japanese (unlike the symmetry of the Forbidden City)

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14 Courtly Heian Japan In 794 CE, the Japanese capital was moved to what is now Kyoto Peaceful and productive era – secular and sacred arts flourished Both men and women of the court were expected to write poetry in order to be respected by their peers. People of the court composed 5-line waka poems (syllables: ). Haiku poems developed out of the first three lines of waka – How is this different from the activities that are respected today? – What does this tell us about Japanese courtly society? Court poetry expressed feelings that lay under the surface of elegant court life: I should not have waited It would have been wiser To sleep and dream Than to see the night pass And watch this moon slowly shrink (written in the 11 th century by Lady Akazome Emon after her lover failed to appear)

15 Heian a period of great sophistication – Japanese painters broke away from Chinese traditions – Departed from Chinese depictions of majestic mountains – Represented softer rolling hills, maple trees, cherry blossoms – Landscapes are backgrounds to narrative tales Men and women wrote poetry, but it was women who wrote fiction, including the world’s first novel, The Tale of Genji Tale of Genji is illustrated – figures shown at an angle with a viewpoint above, asymmetrical composition – How is this different from Chinese painting? The Pillow Book, 1000 CE (read excerpts) – what does this tell us about courtly life in Japan? The role of women? Courtly Heian Japan

16 Illustration from Tale of Genji

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20 Heian a period of great sophistication – Japanese painters broke away from Chinese traditions – Departed from Chinese depictions of majestic mountains – Represented softer rolling hills, maple trees, cherry blossoms – Landscapes are backgrounds to narrative tales Men and women wrote poetry, but it was women who wrote fiction, including the world’s first novel, The Tale of Genji Tale of Genji is illustrated – figures shown at an angle with a viewpoint above, asymmetrical composition – How is this different from Chinese painting? The Pillow Book, 1000 CE (read excerpts) – what does this tell us about courtly life in Japan? The role of women? Courtly Heian Japan

21 The Japanese Garden -aesthetically tied to painting, many were designed by famous artists -Designed to appear like an inked scroll -designed for contemplation or meandering -Zen-style gardens are designed with sand or gravel which suggest water, punctuated by ‘islands’ of rocks -gardens reflect Japanese cultural aesthetics: asymmetry, subtle proportions, overall unity, visual harmony Daisen-in monastery garden, Kyoto

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23 Temple of the Golden Pavilion, 1397, Kyoto -exterior is covered with gold leaf -Zen Buddhist temple and monastery -the pyramidal style roof is Chinese, the shingles (rather than ceramic tiles) are Japanese

24 Himeji Castle, near Osaka, 1581

25 Woodblock prints In the 17 th and 18 th centuries, a wood block print style of painting called ukiyo-e emerged Scenes from everyday life, particularly cultural scenes: dance, theater, music, games, travel Prints of actors were made to promote Kabuki theatrical productions – showed the most dramatic moments of a play Scenes from nature were a key inspiration for ukiyo-e artists, as well as erotica, depicting the pleasure districts of Tokyo

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28 The Great Wave of Kanagawa, Japan – from series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji, 1831

29 from series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji, 1831

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32 How to make ukiyo-e prints – The artist produced a master drawing in ink – An assistant, called a hikkō, would then create a tracing (hanshita) of the master – Craftsmen glued the hanshita face-down to a block of wood and cut away the areas where the paper was white. This left the drawing, in reverse, as a relief print on the block, but destroyed the hanshita. – This block was inked and printed, making near-exact copies of the original drawing. – A first test copy, called a kyōgo-zuri, would be given to the artist for a final check. – The prints were in turn glued, face-down, to blocks and those areas of the design which were to be printed in a particular color were left in relief. Each of these blocks printed at least one color in the final design. – The resulting set of woodblocks were inked in different colors and sequentially impressed onto paper. The final print bore the impressions of each of the blocks, some printed more than once to obtain just the right depth of color.

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35 Haiku poetry 3-lined poems with 17 syllables in a pattern of 5, 7, 5 The most popular form of poetry in the past 400 years and influential in the west The essence of good haiku: a momentary, implicitly spiritual, insight presented without explicit comment Usually inspired by nature Contains reference to a season Avoids rhyme Attempts to create an emotional response in the reader, evoke a sudden moment of awareness Sick on a journey, my dreams wander over withered fields Bleak and lonely the sun penetrates the rocks in the withered field

36 Chapter 20 ends I wish it went forever On to the Mayans


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